U.S. Temporarily Suspends 15-Day Premium Processing Of H-1B Petitions

The USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has temporarily suspended the Premium Processing Program for H-1B visa. This suspension will take effect on the applications submitted after April 3, 2017, and simply covers all the H-1B petitions for the financial year 2018.
 
As per the USCIS announcement,
 
“This suspension may last up to 6 months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker which requests the H-1B non-immigrant classification. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions.”
 
It is expected that the H-1B visa processing will take around 7 to 8 months now, in contrast to what the U.S. Government advertises to be 4 months. The point worth noting is that the U.S. allows only 85,000 H-1B visa petitions per year and this temporary suspension will put a brake on that number.
 
Although most of us know this step is taken by the Trump government to narrow the entry of immigrants in the U.S., but the official announcement claims that the agency has taken this decision so as to catch up on a backlog of long-pending H-1B applications.
 
“This temporary suspension will help us to reduce overall H-1B processing times. By temporarily suspending premium processing, we will be able to:
 
Process long-pending petitions, which we have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years; and
 
Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240-day mark."